The shop is high, high up in the hills above Portland. There is no sign marking the gravel driveway—I missed it quite a few times—and the garage isn’t visible from the road. Beneath a cathedral of Douglas fir, amidst sea of ferns, it recalls a land before time.
It seems a fitting location to built titanium bicycles, the material having come and gone in and out of fashion countless times over the years. Here Dave Levy builds Ti Cycles, an eclectic brand of stock, custom and absolutely wild show bikes (mostly) all made from titanium. Cargo bikes, tandem, mini-velos, full-suspension fat bikes… if you can think of it chances are Levy has built one. He’s also now the co-owner of REN Cycles, a sister brand of stock-size titanium bikes.
This year Ti Cycles celebrates its 25th anniversary so I paid a visit to the shop to see some of the more unique creations at hand.
Click on the magnifying glass to see full-size images.
I toured the Hutchinson tire making facility in Châlette sur Loing (Loiret), about 161 kilometers south of Paris the day after riding the 2013 L’Etape du Tour in Annecy, France. Hutchinson began making bicycle tires in 1890, and is one of the oldest French manufacturers. It uses rubber derived from the Ivory Coast.
Company founder Hiram Hutchinson began operations in 1852, and his heirs sold the company in 1869. Petroleum company Total acquired The Hutchinson Group in 1974.
Sadly, Christophe de Margerie—who was 63 and had been chief executive of Total since 2007—died October 20 when a corporate plane crashed into a snow plough on an airport runway near Moscow prior to takeoff. According to news reports, all four people on the plane died as the plane was engulfed in flames. French manufacturing compatriot Roland Cattin, founder of Time Sport International, died of a heart attack after a bike ride with his wife in Paris the day before. He was 65.
Hutchinson introduced the world’s first tubeless road bicycle tire in 2006, developed in conjunction with several professional cyclists, including two-time Tour de France yellow jersey wearer and French housewife heartthrob Thomas Voeckler.
And for you hands-on kids out there, here’s a video showing how to dial in your road tubeless tire:
Each issue, Bicycle Times takes you on a pictorial tour of a manufacturing facility, because we know that you, like most devoted grin chasers, dig seeing how things are made. It’s only fitting that our debut tour focused on our own magazine.
Since mid 2011, Rotating Mass Media, publisher of Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag, has partnered with Schumann Printers to produce its magazines. That’s when Bicycle Times Issue 13 rolled off its presses in Fall River, Wisconsin, 17 miles north of the world headquarters of Trek Bicycle Corporation. We asked Bicycle Times contributor and ace photographer Dave Schlabowske to take photos and provide the narrative.
Schumann has four web presses. Under the guidance of Mark A. Schumann, the pressroom has the most up-to-date press technology available. Computer to Plate (CTP) plates are digitally created using CIP 3 and G7 Extreme color technology. This technology creates a .ppf file to carry color space settings for the press fountains at each press. Color-up is completely automatic and extremely accurate, saving both time and paper. All presses are equipped with new CLC (Closed Loop Color) controls. Schumann was the second printer in the world to have installed CLC on all its presses.
Every four impressions, color bars are electronically scanned and interpreted. Computers translate this information and set the color. Standard of Web Offset Printing (SWOP) density standards are consistent throughout the press run. All presses are equipped with automatic computer controls to assure paper guiding, tension and cutoffs.
The company, founded by Jack Schumann in 1963, is lead by Daniel C. Schumann, its second-generation president. It prints more than 350 magazines, including MAKE, the popular DIY publication. Take a tour here.
This piece originally appeared in Bicycle Times #30. To make sure you never miss a story and to help keep the magazine rolling, purchase a subscription here.